Categories
History

[VIDEO] Digital Humanities in 2 Minutes

I was involved in the early days of history and the digital – this video (H/T @pmphillips), is a useful summary:

Categories
History

Archives need to get digitally with it?

flat tablet pc

Interesting piece in the Guardian about the affordability of research:

It is the age of the digital historian. Technology gives researchers the means of carrying out their work more effectively and quickly, and archivists need to respond positively to these changes. Without encouraging researchers to use and disseminate their material, archive buildings risk becoming populated only by those with the incomes to be able to indulge in research – and we will all be poorer for it.

Full article.

Categories
Digital

Digital Archives

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshab/5771179476/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshab/5771179476/

Digital content has been around for 20+ years, and is now formally being collected.

All British print publications have been held by the libraries since 1662. But from today, says Lucie Burgess, the library’s head of content strategy, this has been extended “to capture the digital universe as well”.

The 4.8 million websites using the .uk domain will all be collected and made accessible from January 2014, though certain material will be available earlier. Other British websites with .org and .com domain names should follow soon after.

Read full article… what further ramifications does this mean for a society in which we say that our past is all recorded? As a historian I’m thinking, even if it all is, we’re going to be selective in what we search for/access, and how it’s categorised will change access…

Categories
Digital

The British Library and Data

The British Library is rising to the challenges posed by the creative chaos of the digital age, says outgoing chief executive Lynne Brindley

The banking system may have lost public trust, but great libraries such as the British Library, which contain the DNA of civilisation, have the public interest built into their core values.

Those values – which also include independence, integrity and longevity – must be maintained. But as I reflect on my glorious, exciting and rewarding 12 years as chief executive of the British Library, it strikes me that the challenge for such institutions today is to continue to reposition their role in the “always on” digital culture, which submerges scholars, consumers and citizens alike in a deluge of data.

The British Library’s purpose has always been to acquire, preserve, organise and give access to information: the intellectual, scientific and cultural memory of the nation, exercised through statute. Our far-sighted predecessors ensured that any book published in the UK could be made available in a reading room in perpetuity. Today our remit extends into the digital sphere, with prospective regulations set to charge us with avoiding a “digital black hole” in material relating to the 21st century.

Read full story.

Categories
Academic Digital

Raiders of the Lost Archives @timeshigered

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/613683

Fascinating, having done most of my research just before digitisation made a huge difference, great to see someone looking back “before”:

But when I got to the library itself it was Aladdin’s Cave. There were manuscripts and rare books (the world’s best collection of Victorian novels in serial, for example), many of them uncatalogued. It required a certain nerve to ask the librarian to cut the page of a monthly serial of – say – a William Harrison Ainsworth part that had been sealed for 110 years. All the stuff I was interested in was untrod snow. And, of course, you had no way of knowing the full riches within the collections unless you were there in person (the same was true of the British Museum’s “rare books and manuscript” department, which lagged years behind “accessing” its vast holdings. It was a scholarly bran tub).

Forty years on (a full academic career) and everything is different. Professor Google, Dr Xerox and Mr Jumbo Jet (not to say email and dirt-cheap telephony) have created the research equivalent of Marshall McLuhan’s global village. Things are moving at ever faster speed. Within the foreseeable future, the British Library (successor to the old BM, with its elephant folio catalogue) will have all its contents digitised and text searchable. No more days out (lunchless, typically, given the non-existent refreshment facilities) at Colindale. Once the Google Books Library Project sorts out its copyright problems, one will be able to access a whole copyright library from one’s iPad. Electronic cataloguing now has the amazing utility of a car’s GPS system. It takes you wherever you want to go, no fuss whatsoever. And once you have it, you can’t imagine what it was like not to have it.

Read full story.